Research and development in the Materials & Optics Division ranges from the frontiers of basic materials science to novel device technologies. Decades of aerospace research have yielded a world-class capability in ultra-high performance ceramic composite design, modeling, and fabrication. This structural materials research is complemented by efforts in functional materials, wherein molecular structure is tailored for specific combinations of electronic, magnetic, optical, and thermal properties. Recent programs extend into structural materials that can perform self-decontaminating or anti-biofouling functions. Our capabilities are also applied to the growing field of biomaterials and bioengineering, including improved mechanical models for bone and prototype actuation materials for stimulating cell growth.
This basic materials research is complemented by the creation of innovative and useful devices. Teledyne Scientific Company has developed novel prototypes for energy harvesting and numerous application-specific sensors, actuators, and transducers. Research in electrochemistry has enabled novel devices for sensing and mitigating corrosion. Developments in thermal management for power electronics have launched a successful start-up company. Finally, breakthrough applications in photonics and optical materials include agile filters, beam steering devices, and bio-inspired optical systems.
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Liquid-crystal spatial light modulator with 812 channels, used to demonstrate wavefront correction of a high energy laser beam. This device was tested at Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) using their 17kW laser, with a beam spot size of 4 cm.